Category Archives: Reviews

What I’ve Read Wednesday, Volume 4

Current Facebook Status: was watching Christopher dance and was sad when he stopped. But then he was a race car and now playing baseball. What a fun little guy :).

Currently Playing in the Background: The Hot Dog Dance – do it, you know you wanna ;).  Moving from Daisy’s Dance to Donald’s Balloon [yes, he should be asleep – I don’t watch these on my own :p]

I had planned on reading Code Triage by the fabulous Candace Calvert, but only got part of it read today :(.  Will finish it tomorrow and then post it next week.  Have been working on getting the books due back tomorrow reviewed so I have plenty in the queue.  Today, I’m going with the sequel to the previously reviewed One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury [and the book of hers I’ve had on hold since June is FINALLY ready for me to pick up].

From the back of the book:

Well, it has no copy on the back of the book so here’s the description from Zondervan’s website:

The hope-filled sequel to the bestselling One Tuesday Morning In this new novel by Karen Kingsbury, three years have passed since the terrorist attacks on New York City. Jamie Bryan, widow of a firefighter who lost his life on that terrible day, has found meaning in her season of loss by volunteering at St. Paul’s, the memorial chapel across the street from where the Twin Towers once stood. Here she meets a daily stream of people touched by the tragedy, including two men with whom she feels a connection. One is a firefighter also changed by the attacks, the other a police officer from Los Angeles. But as Jamie gets to know the police officer, she is stunned to find out that he is the brother of Eric Michaels, the man with the uncanny resemblance to Jamie’s husband, the man who lived with her for three months after September 11. Eric is the man she has vowed never to see again. Certain she could not share even a friendship with his brother, Jamie shuts out the police officer and delves deeper into her work at St. Paul’s. Now it will take the persistence of a tenacious man, the questions from her curious young daughter, and the words from her dead husband’s journal to move Jamie beyond one Tuesday morning.

What I Liked:

  • I liked this one better than One Tuesday Morning.  That one was too clichéd for my taste.  This one was better.
  • I liked Jamie’s work at St. Paul’s.  I hope it’s still going on if it’s still needed.
  • I still love her daughter.  I love her daughter’s questions.
  • I love Clay Michaels.  I liked him in the last book, but I loved him here.  I loved how he came to the rescue of those in need, when in need – including Jamie.
  • I liked Aaron.  I wish we’d seen more of what happened to him.
  • It was fairly obvious to me who Jamie was going to end up with – her late husband’s boss or the brother of the man who looks just like her late husband.  However, the ‘will they or won’t they’ aspect was still interesting enough.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Nothing in particular.

This book was better than the first one in my opinion.  It wasn’t fabulous but it was worth a reread from time to time – probably without having reread the first one first.  It can stand on its own after reading One Tuesday Morning once.  Tom Clancy books I feel the need to reread through the whole series before the new ones come out, but this one I won’t.

7.5 out of 10

What I Read Wednesday on Thursday, Vol. 1

Let’s hope there’s no Volume 2 of this edition =D.

I had hoped to finish rereading Disaster Status last night but didn’t and it’s unlikely I’ll be able to today so instead of waiting on it, I’ll pull another review out of the archives and post it.  I plan on Disaster Status next week :).  Of course, I have about 16 books still sitting on the table next to me to either be reviewed or be read [mostly reviewed] and some editing to do, but I’m sure I can finish it again – especially as I’m giving a test on Tuesday ;).

In honor of last weekend’s anniversary of 9/11, I’m going to post the review I wrote a couple weeks ago of Karen Kingsbury’s One Tuesday Morning.

I’m fascinated by all things 9/11 [more or less] so when I saw Karen Kingsbury had a 9/11 series, I had to check it out [literally – from the library; the budget doesn’t let me buy near as many books as I’d like so I have to read them first – surely someone out there can relate, right?].  Her first series of books had been recommended to me by a friend, but there’s only one copy of the first book in the series in all of our county library system, so while I was waiting, I moved on to other stuff.  One Tuesday Morning is one of the other things I read [as was everything else reviewed on the blog to this point plus all those others waiting to be reviewed – two and a half months later I’m still waiting…]

Front Cover

A devoted fireman and a driven businessman, strangers with the same face. On that fateful Tuesday, one will leave the Twin Towers alive–but will he ever find his way home?

From the Back Cover

I’m a firefighter, God, so I know I’ve been in some tough places before. But this . . . this not knowing the people I love . . . this is the hardest thing I can imagine.

The last thing Jake Bryan knew was the roar of the World Trade Center collapsing on top of him and his fellow firefighters. The man in the hospital bed remembers nothing. Not rushing with his teammates up the stairway of the south tower to help trapped victims. Not being blasted from the building. And not the woman sitting by his bedside who says she is his wife.

Jamie Bryan will do anything to help her beloved husband regain his memory, and with it their storybook family life with their small daughter, Sierra. But that means helping Jake rediscover the one thing Jamie has never shared with him: his deep faith in God.

Jake’s fondest prayer for his wife is about to have an impact beyond anything he could possibly have conceived. One Tuesday Morning is a love story like none you have ever read: tender, poignant, commemorating the tragedy and heroism of September 11 and portraying the far-reaching power of God’s faithfulness and a good man’s love.

What I Liked:

  • The same 9/11 stuff I think most of us would.  The descriptions as realistic as possible from someone who wasn’t there [and using a made-up group of firefighters as her characters].
  • I liked Jamie and Jake Bryan.  They were real.  Flawed.  He loved his wife more than anything but his God.  He loved his daughter the same way.  He loved life.  He loved his job.  Jamie knew and accepted that.  She could deal with that.
  • The family and friends of the Bryans.  Also real.  Also flawed.  Also hurting after the towers came down.
  • The same is true of Laura and Eric.  Real.  Flawed.  At the end of their marital rope.
  • Clay – Eric’s brother.  A strong Christian.  Falling for his sister-in-law after 9/11 [and maybe even before].  An all around good guy – there when you need him.

What I didn’t like:

  • The plot seemed… clichéd.  Very predictable and very… trite?  Very uninspiring [in the plot sense, not the ‘inspirational’ part of ‘inspirational fiction’ sense].  The book itself was well-written and entertaining enough that I didn’t put it down but the overall plot was a bit too… sort of… blah or something.
  • That’s about it – but that’s enough.

Would I read it again?  Yeah, probably.  Would I buy it?  Not at full price.  Maybe if I saw it used for a really good deal and needed to fill up an order on Amazon or something and didn’t have any other options in the budget, but it’s unlikely.  Am I totally put off on Karen Kingsbury?  Not by this.  I’ve already read the other two and will review them in the future and am still waiting on the first in the Baxter series.  However, I was really not that impressed based on this book alone.

6 of 10 stars.

Star Ratings

So it’s not overly creative and it’s based mainly on whether or not I would actually buy the particular book in question [gotta love libraries!] but since tomorrow is ‘What I Read Wednesday’, here’s how I’m using a 10 star rating :).  I reserve the right to change this at any time – because, hey, it’s my blog and therefore my prerogative ;).

10. This one goes to the top of the Amazon wish list, to be purchased at my earliest convenience, will be reread regularly and gushingly recommended to friends.

9. This book will be put on the Amazon wish list to be purchased when finances allow, will be reread fairly often and highly recommended to friends.

8. This book goes on the Amazon list but with no special rush on it.  It will be reread as the mood strikes and recommended to friends I know have an interest in the particular genre.

7. This goes on the Amazon list but only if it’s a good deal.  It will be reread on occasion and mentioned to friends with an interest.

6. This one may or may not go on the Amazon list to be purchased if it’s a good deal, there’s nothing higher on the list to purchase or I need to reach $25 for free shipping without going over and it fits the bill.  It will get reread if the mood strikes, which may not be often.  It may or may not be recommended to others.

5. Unlikely to go on the Amazon list.  Probably won’t be recommended unless a friend has a strong interest in the subject.  I finished it and it may have had a redeeming quality or three but I won’t reread it unless I’m bored out of my mind.

4. If by some chance, the book is already in my possession, it will be a. donated; b. given as a white elephant gift; or c. used for an object lesson of some sort.  Unlikely to be recommended.  I probably finished it, but it took some effort.

3. If by some chance, the book is already in my possession, it will be a. donated; b. used to put under a wobbly leg; or c. used to kill the spiders that frequent the basement in the summer.  Very unlikely to be recommended.  I likely finished it but it was probably torturous to do so.

2. If, by some chance, the book is already in my possession, it will be a. donated; b. used to line the bird cage we don’t have; or c. given to someone who has a bird cage.  I will strongly warn against it because it’s so bad.  Recommend it?  Really?  I probably finished it only because I hate not to.

1. If, by some chance, the book is already in my possession, it will be a. donated; b. used to raise the height of the top of the cabinets in the kitchen so that the decorative items on top can be seen better; or c. used as kindling.  I will recommend friends steer clear for the sake of their own mental health.  If I finished it, it’s only so I could rant about how bad it is.

0. This book gives credence to the idea that printing books kills trees and should be avoided at all costs.  It has no redeeming value.  At.  All.  It’s doubtful I finished it.  And donating it would just subject someone else to it.  Kindling is a far more likely use.

What I’ve Read Wednesday

YAY!  I’m finally getting to post a review on Wednesday :).  I’ve been planning to do this for like a month and a half now, but things like Christopher’s ‘let’s play the stop breathing game’ and hospital visit stuff then school got in the way.  I have about fifteen books sitting on the table next to me that need reviewed and returned to the library.  The plan is to do that then they’re all ready to go each Wednesday ;).

So for today’s book… Candace Calvert’s Critical Care!  I just discovered Candace’s books last week thanks to a blog post and then a rabbit trail from that blog to another one, then another, then scrolling through then… Well, it was like a pachinko machine, to be honest and I don’t remember the exact path, but that’s okay =D.

Christopher and I did our early morning school/babysitter thing, grocery shopping, stopped by the school to drop off Emily’s snacks for her Star student snack day [her teacher said she loves being Star student – shocking!  Em loving the center of attention?!  Couldn’t be!  Of course, her shorts are on backwards but that’s because Dad was home this morning ;)], talked to Miss Julie [Abbie and Emily’s preschool teacher who was outside with this year’s preschoolers], stopped at the library [love the drive up window!], the bank then home to put up the groceries, feed the 3yo and watch too much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse [the new Road Race episode in which Mickey’s voice sounds funky – did they get a new voice actor?] and I settled in to start Critical Care.  We got home about 11 am.  I finished before 2pm.  That’s a good thing.

Initial thoughts:
It’s a bit shorter than most of the books I’ve read recently but I’m good with that.  It actually gives me hope because it’s about the same length as Unbreak Her Heart.  Mine is about 72K words and I’d be interested to know what Critical Care came in at.

From the cover:

After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She’s determined to make a fresh start–new hospital, new career in nursing education–move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she’s called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heart-breaking day care center explosion. Worse, she’s forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator … who just might teach him the true meaning of healing.

What I Loved:

  • Jeremiah 29:11 – Yep, my favorite verse makes several appearances :).  It’s written on my bathroom mirror right now and displayed prominently in Claire’s home.  Is it God telling me something?  Or random coincidence?  I know what Jan would say… 😉

What I liked:

  • I’ve spent too much time in the last couple of decades [eep!] watching medical dramas of one kind or another.  Reading about one is a bit different!  Critical Care is inspirational ER without the ‘drama’ [in the off-screen sense; ER went on a few seasons too long…]  I could see the emergency room in my mind’s eye both from those shows and from our all too recent visit ourselves [see: Overwhelming Gratitude]
  • I love Claire.  I feel for her after the tragic loss.
  • I love Logan.  I didn’t like his picture on the cover :p.  I kept thinking ‘but he doesn’t have long curly hair in his picture!’  I know – author’s don’t have much choice in that ;).
  • I love the rest of the supporting characters!  They’re so real!  Erin struggling with relationships.  Sarah dealing with her past.  How those things are resolved.  Or at least starting to resolve.
  • Logan finally opening up – not just with Claire but with everyone.  The resolution in his life with so many things in his past.
  • The ending left me with a smile on my face.
  • I’m glad that Disaster Status was on Amazon for like 1.50 or so yesterday – the Kindle edition – so I already have it on the iPhone waiting to read because the library’s two copies aren’t due for at least a week – but I still wish I had an actual hard copy to read :/.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • The ending :p.  Yes, I see what I wrote up there.  But I also know that Disaster Status picks up at another hospital with one of those supporting characters who moves at the end of the book.  Okay, I can deal with that.  But my inner literary voyeur wants more Claire and Logan ;).
  • Um… that’s about it ;).  Except that I wish the one character, minor though he may be, would have gotten his comeupence [how do you spell that?!] because it so annoys me that he didn’t.  But that particular kind of situation is a bit near and dear to my heart.


It’s going on my Amazon wish list.  I liked the characters.  I loved the romance.  And I liked the medical aspect of it – maybe it’s too many hours wasted watching ER, House, or true stories on Discovery Health, but I liked it!  I also found an interview on Title Trakk that said that she has other books out for the general market – comic mysteries with a wacky cruise nurse or something to that effect.  Think I’m going to have to try to find those :).

9 of 10 stars

Now to finish those query letters and get my main webpage up and running instead of having the ‘coming soon’ thing on there forever.  It needs a bio and the first chapter posted – though I did post the first page here on the blog :).

What I’ve Read – Special Holiday Weekend Edition, Part 2

Yeah so this is late.  Internet was floofy last night.  I really did enjoy Out of Her Hands though I’m not sure that comes across in the review.  I think I need a new review numbering system… Five stars just doesn’t have enough nuance, I don’t think.  So here’s to 10 stars with definitions probably along the lines of those at Overweight Bookshelf – at least until I come up with something witty of my own.  I’ll go back and change the other two reviews I’ve done.

After we got home from Tulsa Saturday night and got the kids in bed, I opened Out of Her Hands. I finished it on Sunday.  I’m struggling a bit with this because I really did like it and though my nitpicks seem to be more in the forefront than with Searching for Spice, I liked them both enough to put them on my Amazon wish list.  But I still feel like my nitpicks way outweigh my likes which isn’t truly the case – for some reason, I’m having an easier time articulating them though…

I’ve hesitated about posting this because of the old ‘more nice than not’ rule and I don’t feel I’ve truly followed it.  I do hope that it comes across that I did enjoy the book.


Life moves on for Linda Revere.  Her kids are growing up.  Before long, she’ll have an empty nest.  Her marriage is good.  But Nick has a secret girlfriend – someone who isn’t Christian.  There are other struggles going on with Emma, Deb and even Carol, the client who befriended Linda in Searching for Spice.

What I liked:

  • Linda!  I still love her!
  • Ross!  And Doris!  I love them!  They can be my grandparents!
  • Bert and Slim!  I love Bert and Slim!  I want Bert and Slim for my other grandparents [and yes, that means that I want Joyce and Harry for parents 😉 – or at least aunt and uncle].
  • The studio seems to have mellowed a bit.  That’s good, but I did enjoy some of the quirkiness there.  Thomas and his gossip are real, if annoying ;).  And where’s Pam?!
  • Carol – I’m glad she’s back.  Part of me wishes that Linda would stand up to her a bit, but I understand why she doesn’t stand up to Carol more than she does.  I do wish Carol would ‘grow up’ or whatever a bit and be a bit less demanding.
  • Deb – I love Deb.  I wish her well in the life changes she’s experiencing.  I kind of hope at least part of it falls through so we see her more in the next book.
  • I see potential in Amber, Nick’s girlfriend.  As a character, she’s probably where she should be at this point in her life.  As a ‘real person’, she would have a ways to go towards becoming who she could be.  I hope we get a chance to see that.
  • I do enjoy the other situations the family gets in – the ones not related to parenting situations at hand.  The painting choices, the Thanksgiving, the tentative steps towards a relationship with Amber [until Amber, in my eyes anyway, does something to ruin it – like the sweater thing], the weddings, etc.


  • Even more than in Searching for Spice, Jerry’s perfection grates on me some.  More than some at times.  His solution for Nick is a good one, but he offers it without discussing it with Linda.  I think it was the right choice, and I think Linda would have, too, but to make the decision without discussing it first was the wrong thing.  I would have been okay with that if he’d apologized for it later, but he didn’t and she never called him on it.  While he doesn’t come across as ‘holier than thou’ or anything, that he is always right bugs me.  Nobody is that perfect.  And it seems that Linda is always wrong.  That bugs me too :).
  • I was somewhat critical of Andrea Boeshaar in Always a Bridesmaid for the parental control over a grown child living at home.  There, the character was practically grounded for not calling home.  Here, DiMaria seems to go too far the other way – at least IMO.  Nick was out all night, in the middle of a snowstorm, without calling.  He worried his parents, he was inconsiderate and it seemed glossed over.  Nick does say it won’t happen again, but there seems to be very little contrition on his part at that point but it isn’t addressed.
  • Jerry – though his always rightness bugs me, so does his lack of stepping up at times.  Nick seemed to need a good man-to-man talk at more than one point, particularly after the mall incident between Linda and Amber.  While I understand his ‘no gossiping’ stance, I felt like Linda should have discussed her concerns about Nick and Amber with him at that point and Jerry should have sat him down for a heart-to-heart.
  • Amber…  She’s still growing.  She’s not there yet and so this could very well be a part of future books, but she has a serious chip on her shoulder at times.  She’s cruel to Linda at times – whether intentionally or not [the sweater party?!] – but never apologizes and never really says ‘thank you’ for everything Linda and Jerry do.  At least that was my impression.  She may have said the words, but I didn’t get the attitude of gratitude.
  • Deb still has her head in the sand.  While she’s technically accurate in her description of her relationship, it’s such a slippery slope and I think, in real life anyway, she’s going to wake up to find out that she’s had blinders on.  I think it’s possible that will happen in book 3 [if there is a book 3 :)].
  • Nick.  We never saw him broken over what was going on near the end of the book.  We never saw him grapple with his decisions, with the implications of faith and those decisions.  The whole thing is from Linda’s POV but seeing some of the struggle would have been nice.  He’s changed a fair bit, it seems, since the first book and I wonder about the catalyst for that change – is it Amber or did it start before that?  Will he step up and be the man of God his dad and grandpa are?
  • The last bit seemed…  glossed over.  No, that’s not right.  But more of a ‘in the last six months these things happened’ epilogue type feel to the last couple of chapters.  I think it could have ended fairly happily after the big deal happening in May [which would have made it a bit short, but the whole spring passed in a paragraph or two…] and then a whole other book written about what happened after that – though the rest isn’t maybe quite enough for a full book, maybe half or 2/3 of one and I’m sure other wrenches could be thrown in the works for the last 1/2-1/3 :).  However, I know editors and publishers can have a big part in that kind of thing so I’m choosing to believe that they had much to do with that.

Loose ends:

  • What about Pam from Searching for Spice?
  • What about the history teacher?  What was the fallout from that?
  • What about the fallout with Katrina’s day off?


I totally called the family connection ;).  You’ll see what I mean when you read it.  Just remember that I called it!

I give Out of Her Hands 7.5 out of 10 stars.  I sincerely hope for a third book and, hopefully, see some resolution for Nick and Deb, in particular.  And Emma who is moving off to college.  I’ll read it again and I’ll be waiting for the sequel.

What I’ve Read…

I’ve read three books this weekend :).  It’s been a LONG time since I’ve done that!

Saturday, my sis and I took all three girls to get library books.  I picked up three.  Here are the reviews:

Amazon Book CoverSaturday night, I read Always a Bridesmaid by Andrea Boeshaar.  It was… okay.  Spoilers coming.  It’s the only book I’ve read by this author so I don’t know if it’s the author or this particular book or what, but parts of it seemed contrived and forced a bit, even skimmed over.  We didn’t get to see the big confrontation at the end [and I understand why – neither the male nor female romantic leads were there and the book was written strictly from their POVs – point of views – but I still feel a bit cheated].  I’m sure some of it was the type of book – it’s a Heartsong Presents book which has, as I understand it, strict [shorter than most] word counts and ‘rules’ so that may have played a role in it.  I think if it was about 1.5xs as long, more in depth on some things, etc. it would have been much better.  But that’s just my opinion of course :).

Melody in her early/mid-20s and moved home after her boyfriend, Scott, disappeared.  She then discovered that he’d had several other girlfriends, including one who eventually had an abortion.  She dropped out of college but has been slowly getting her degree.  Her little sister, Bonnie, comes home one day, announces she’s engaged then introduces the whole family to Scott.  Scott denies there was ever a relationship with Melody.  She tells her family about it, but because she hadn’t told them about it when it happened (she’d never mentioned Scott at all) and because she’d crossed certain physical boundaries (they never had sex and I’m not quite sure how far they ended up going), her parents, particularly her mother, choose to believe Scott’s version of events over Melody’s.

That annoyed me to no end as did how her parents, particularly her father, treated her at times.  Yes, she was living with them and needed to follow their rules, but when she left to go drive around one night and didn’t return, it was like she was a sixteen year old with a brand new license.  There were a couple of other things like that that annoyed me as well.  I get the ‘you’re living in our house, our rules are you let us know if you won’t be home after x time and if not doing it becomes a habit, we’re going to have to rethink this arrangement’ but this was more of a ‘if it happens again, you’re grounded, young lady!’ type of thing.

Melody falls in love with boy-next-door Luke who has been pining for her since childhood.  He believed her from the beginning.  Bonnie finds out about Scott when Scott tries to convince Melody to break up with Bonnie for him.  He’s leaving for medical school and doesn’t want to be entangled while there.  That’s a lie, of course, and when Bonnie and Dad confront him, he’s living with another pregnant fiance he plans on leaving behind as well.   That’s the confrontation I felt cheated out of.  The family ends up taking the pregnant girl under their wing and the book ends with Melody and Luke’s wedding.

It wasn’t a BAD read, but not a GREAT one either.  I’d give it 2.5 of 5 stars.

The other two books I borrowed were by Deboray Raney.  I started one Sunday night and read about ten chapters.  I finished that one then started and finished the next on Monday.

EDIT: I took out the next two reviews and will post them later – changing the format to one per post =D.

One of the other books I read, Yesterday’s Embers, may have also broken a logjam for me in my second novel, currently underway, and the sequel to my first.  The title of the first book is currently Unbreak Her Heart by the way.  I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned that…  Anyway, Yesterday’s Embers may have been a bit of an answer to prayer in that way – but time will tell :).

Hope everyone has had a fabulous holiday weekend.  Tomorrow… potty-training the two-year-old…

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